U.S. Economy Adds 74,000 Jobs, Jobless Rate Falls to 6.7%

December employment situation report unemployment rate hiring
Ty Wright/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON -- U.S. employers hired the fewest workers in almost three years in December, but the setback was likely to be temporary amid signs that cold weather conditions might have had an impact.

Nonfarm payrolls rose only 74,000 last month, the smallest increase since January 2011, and the unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage point to 6.7 percent, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate was the lowest since October 2008 and in part reflected people leaving the labor force.

The step back in hiring is at odds with other employment indicators that have painted an upbeat picture of the jobs market. The data showed that 38,000 more jobs were added in November than previously reported.

Construction employment fell for the first time since May and leisure and hospitality payrolls rose marginally, suggesting that cold weather in some parts of the country had held back hiring. There were also declines in government employment.

The smaller survey of households showed an increase in the number of people who stayed at home because of the bad weather.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected job gains of 196,000 jobs last month. But many pushed up their forecasts in the wake of upbeat labor market data during the week.

A string of data -- from consumer spending and trade to industrial production -- has suggested the economy ended 2013 on strong footing and is positioned to gain even more strength this year.

The change in the economy's fortunes, which gave the Federal Reserve confidence last month to start dialing back its massive monetary stimulus, reflects waning fiscal uncertainty after lawmakers in Washington agreed on a two-year budget.

The labor force participation rate, or the proportion of working-age Americans who have a job or are looking for one fell 0.2 percentage point to 62.8 percent.

Annual revisions to the data from the Labor Department's survey of households, which is used to calculate the jobless rate, showed minor changes to the rate.

The U.S. central bank announced in December that it would trim its monthly purchases to $75 billion from $85 billion, and many economists expect it to decide on a similar-sized cut at its next meeting on Jan. 28-29.

Growth this year is expected to top 3 percent, a sharp acceleration from the 1.7 percent forecast for 2013.

Last month government payrolls fell 13,000 after rising 15,000 in November.

Manufacturing employment rose for a fifth straight month. The number of construction jobs fell 16,000.

Employment in the retail sector accelerated from November's seven-month low, which economists had blamed on a late Thanksgiving. There were also payroll gains in professional and business services.

Average hourly earnings rose two cents. The length of the workweek fell to 34.4 hours from 34.5 hours.

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swkoppy

Has everyone forgotten the fact that 18 million more people are on food stamps then before 2008 ,Where did they all come from,they fell off unemployment and went next store to food stamps.It's just a shell game and none of them have jobs.Add these 18 million to the current unemployment rate and we go over 20%,but wait these people are not part of the unemployed.!!

January 12 2014 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TexasKitty

The quest for the main stream media (lame stream media in reality) is to spin everything Obama and the democrats do to make them look positive. We see longer lines waiting to buy Marijuana in Colorado than we see standing in line for a job and getting free money. I had to chuckle, as news bit about Governor Christie and the bridge closures has immediately got all the main stream media jump on it and even Eric Holder want a federal investigation. OMG! When did we see a federal investigation move this rapidly about, Fast & Furious, the IRS scandal, the NSA scandal, the Benghazi scandal and Obamacare scandal etc..? ? We haven't seen it because all of them have been done under Obama and his cronies. We are going to be plagued by democrats for eons as the main stream media will never print, air any negatives about democrats and the hoi polloi will continue to believe them without any questions .Hillary Clinton has been proven to be a big time liar, but will she be exposed? Perhaps, when pig's fly.

January 11 2014 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to TexasKitty's comment
ivanczar10

I had to chuckle after reading your post and seeing everything you posted was a lie.

January 11 2014 at 2:09 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
bbnpl4545

Yeah ok, And i saw a pig fly over the moon last night

January 11 2014 at 12:15 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jaywest71

Do the 1 million American's who's unemployment ran out and decided not to seek employment after being a leach for 99 weeks have any impact!

January 11 2014 at 11:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Art69z

Article excerpt, "The unemployment rate was the lowest since October 2008 and in part reflected people leaving the labor force".... "in part", that was the main reason it declined. Of course, the media spin is not going to admit this.

January 11 2014 at 11:23 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
jibelo

Of course the jobless rate declined over December. Hasn't anyone heard of holiday hiring? DUH

January 11 2014 at 10:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
maizenblue

Please explain how the unemployment rate drops when only 74,000 jobs are added to an economy that requires 200-250,000 jobs to keep up with population growth.

January 11 2014 at 10:32 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to maizenblue's comment
Art69z

In the real world, it's called "white washing the truth".The liberal media will spin a story anyway they can to protect negative press for Pres. Obama.

January 11 2014 at 11:26 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
pnanos

Lipstick on a pig. This administration does not know what it's doing. It's easy in a classroom.

January 11 2014 at 10:06 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
ICHABOD

Liars!

January 11 2014 at 4:49 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
evnsaffl

That 6.7% does not take into account the thousands of people who have quit the job market and stopped looking. So, the unemployment rate is actually much worse than it appears.

January 11 2014 at 3:01 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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